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For Educators

Where In God’s World is Algeria?

by Tina Tocco

Fascinating Facts about Algeria

This north African country has the Mediterranean Sea as its norther border. Some of its neighbors include Libya, Morocco, and Mali. It’s a big country– about three-and-a-half times the size of the state of Texas.

Temperatures and climate here are extreme.  Summer desert temps can shoot up to 122 degrees during the day, but winter nights can drop below freezing.  Some regions are humid, yet the Sahara Desert might go without rain for 20 years!

Thanks to its national parks, Algeria enjoys a wide range of geological and biological diversity.  For example, one national park that includes much of the Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range is home to fascinating rock arches, formed by the mountains’ sandstone and years of erosion.  The park also protects many endangered plant species, like the Saharan Cypress.

Animals you might see here include jackals, gazelles, fennecs (foxes), servals (wild cats), Barbary red deer, Kabylie nuthatches, and Mediterranean monk seals.

Some popular foods here are merquez (spicy lamb sausages), bissar (couscous with chicken and dried vegetables), and harira (soup with lamb, chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans).  For dessert you might enjoy some ghribia (sugar cookies) or rfis tmer (candies made with dates).

The national soccer team here is named Les Fennecs (The Foxes). Soccer is the number one sport, but people also enjoy playing volleyball and handball.  In the desert regions, horse racing and camel racing are popular pastimes.

On July 5, Algerians celebrate Independence Day to honor Algeria overthrowing French rule.  People often commemorate this day by attending multicultural events and listening to the country’s president speak about Algeria’s achievements and hopes for the future.

 

Learn the Language

Algeria has two official languages, Arabic and Berber. (Lots of people also speak French.) Arabic uses a different alphabet than English, so the words below are spelled the way they would be in our alphabet.  Try these Arabic phrases:

Good morning. — Sabah alkhyr.

How are you? — Kayf halik?

Thank you. — Shukra.

Harira is my favorite food. — Harira hu taeami almufdil.

 Let’s go to the camel races! — Daena nadhhab ‘iilaa sibaqat aljiml!

 

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